Sean Spicer resigns as White House press secretary over objections to appointment of new communications director

White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigned, allegedly over the appointment of Anthony Scaramucci as the new White House communications director

FP Staff July 21, 2017 22:24:34 IST
Sean Spicer resigns as White House press secretary over objections to appointment of new communications director

White House press secretary Sean Spicer has resigned from his position, reports said on Friday. According to the Associated Press two people with knowledge of the decision verified the news.

Sean Spicer resigns as White House press secretary over objections to appointment of new communications director

File image of Sean Spicer. AP

One of those people said that Spicer is quitting because of objections over the appointment of a new White House communications director, New York financier Anthony Scaramucci.

The people with knowledge of the decision insisted on anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the personnel matter publicly.

"The president requested that Mr Spicer stay on, but Mr Spicer told Mr Trump that he believed the appointment was a major mistake, according to a person with direct knowledge of the exchange," The New York Times reported. The news was later confirmed by the White House.

US president Donald Trump on Friday tapped Anthony Scaramucci to be his new communications director, part of an effort to reset his embattled White House.

Although no final announcement has been made, AFP reports that a source familiar with deliberations told the agency that Trump had settled on this decision.

Scaramucci was seen in the West Wing of the White House on Friday, preparing to address the communications staff.

Scaramucci had once expected to be named the head of the White House office that coordinates the administration's outreach to the business community and other interest groups. But that plan was scuttled due to questions surrounding the sale of his hedge fund.

The high-powered post has been empty since previous communications director Mike Dubke resigned in May. According to AP, Spicer has been doing double duty filling in the weeks ever since.

Ever since being appointed as the White House Press Secretary, Spicer had emerged as the house hold name in the US and globally, often facing tough questions from the media.

Spicer spent several years leading communications at the Republican National Committee before helping Trump's campaign in the general election. He is close to White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, the former RNC chair, and several of the lower-ranking aides in the White House communications shop.

Priebus told The Associated Press that he supports Scaramucci "100 percent," despite reportedly trying to prevent the financier from getting multiple administration positions.

"We go back a long, long way and are very good friends," Priebus said of Scaramucci. "All good here."

Scaramucci is expected to play a visible role as one of Trump's defenders on television. But Spicer and other officials questioned his hiring as communications director ahead of the president's push to overhaul the tax system and other policy issues. One of the officials said Spicer objected to Trump's vision for the future of the press operation.

Spicer's resignation set off a chaotic scene in the White House briefing room, as journalists gathered near a doorway seeking more details on his departure. White House officials had yet to announce the timing of the daily briefing — and who would be conducting it.

Spicer's tenure got off to a rocky start. On Trump's first full day in office, Spicer lambasted journalists over coverage of the crowd size at the inauguration and stormed out of the briefing room without answering questions.

Spicer, who often displayed a fiery demeanour in tense on-camera exchanges with reporters, became part of the culture in the way few people in his job have, particularly through an indelible impersonation by Melissa McCarthy on NBC's Saturday Night Live.

She portrayed Spicer as a hostile figure who tore through the briefing room on a portable podium, willing to attack the press.

Spicer remained loyal to Trump but he frequently battled perceptions that he was not plugged in to what the president was thinking, and had to worry that Trump was watching and critiquing his performance from the Oval Office.

Throughout the start of the administration, there was always the possibility that Trump would undermine something Spicer said by simply sending out a tweet.

With inputs from agencies. 

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